Tour Down Under winner Amanda Spratt added another WorldTour stage race victory to her list of palmares today after an impressive solo victory on the final and Queen stage in Emakumeen Bira.
Her brave efforts leap-frogged her ahead of teammate Annemiek van Vleuten on the final classification, to give Mitchelton-SCOTTan impressive one-two overall, after dominating performances throughout the four-day Basque race.
Hard Queen stage
Today’s final stage proved to be the hardest with two ascents of the steep six kilometre Urkiola climb, which averaged over nine percent and is known to be one of the hardest climbs in the Basque region.
The tough terrain saw the peloton fracture after just 40kilometres of racing with Mitchelton-SCOTT always in a dominating position with numbers in the front.
After the first time up Urkiola climb, the front of the race shrunk to around 30riders and Spratt chose her moment to increase the pace and attacked away from the group.
Mitchelton-SCOTT always with numbers
The team started the stage with Annemiek van Vleuten first on GC,Georgia Williams second at three seconds and Spratt in 10th place at one minute 37seconds behind.
With this strong position, the Australian outfit were able to play the game and with Spratt solo ahead, Van Vleuten and Williams were able to sit back and follow moves as she quickly opened up a lead of over one minute.
With 38kilometres remaining Spratt continued to show her strength, increasing her advantage to over two minutes over a reduced chase group of around 11riders.
Taking bonus seconds on the road and maintaining her sizeable advantage, Spratt moved into the virtual race lead as the chase group behind swelled again to 21riders strong.
However, with 20kilometres to go, Elisa Longo-Borghini (Wiggle-High5), who started the day just three seconds behind Spratt on the classifcation, took her chances to try and dethrone the Australian rider.
Borghini attacked away from the chase group with Olga Zabelinskaya (Cogeas-Mettler) and attempted to bridge to the leader, yet Spratt proved too strong, holding off the chase to claim the stage victory by over one minute and therefore seal the overall race win.
Amanda Spratt – Classification winner
“I am really happy, we came here with some good GC options with Annemiek and Georgia and I was the one people were probably not looking at as much and I used that to my advantage.
“The whole day we were always on the front foot and Annemiek and Georgia could just sit there. I honestly didn’t expect to win it but I am super happy. I am really happy for the whole team, it is a great day for us.
“We really used our numbers and isolated Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervelo-Bigla) and we couldn’t have asked for a better day.”
Emakumeen Bira stage 4 results:
Final general classification: